A recent study found that the number of surgical “gender-affirming” procedures being performed on minors has skyrocketed over the past several years. Specifically, the number of chest reconstructions, such as double mastectomies, performed on children under 17 years old across the U.S. rose nearly 400% from 2016 to 2019, the researchers found.

This is devastating, especially when one considers that 94% of gender-confused children who do not undergo medical intervention grow out of their dysphoria by late adolescence. How many of the children who undergo irreversible medical treatment would have come to accept their natural bodies had they been given enough time? 

A lot, it seems, given the growing number of “detransitioners,” that is, people who regret their decision to attempt to live as a member of the opposite sex and halt or attempt to reverse the process. Chloe Cole, 18, understands firsthand the pressure gender-confused children and teens feel to change their identities and bodies. She says she first began identifying as a boy when she was 13 years old. She was put on puberty blockers and testosterone shortly thereafter. By the time she was 15 years old, Chloe had had both of her breasts removed by a plastic surgeon with Kaiser Permanente.

Cole has since “desisted,” (stopped all treatments to make her appear more masculine), but she still faces myriad health complications related to her double mastectomy and the experimental drugs she was prescribed. 

“As an adult, I will never be able to breast-feed whatever children I will have,” she told Fox News recently. “I don’t even know if, because I was put on puberty blockers and testosterone at only 13 years old, I don’t know if I’ll be able to conceive a child naturally.”

Now, she’s suing the doctors and healthcare professionals who performed or advocated these treatments, accusing them of falsely informing “Chloe and her parents that Chloe’s gender dysphoria would not resolve unless Chloe socially and medical [sic] transitioned to appear more like a male,” and falsely insisting “that Chloe was at a high risk for suicide, unless she socially and medically transitioned to appear more like a male.” 

“Chloe has been informed by her parents that Defendants even gave them the ultimatum: ‘Would you rather have a dead daughter or a live son?’” Cole’s lawsuit says.

Although lawsuits such as Chloe’s may face an uphill battle, they are the best way to shut down the gender mill and the so-called experts who seek to profit from it. The more lawsuits that are filed against the doctors performing these procedures, the more hesitant insurance companies will be to cover them in the first place. Eventually, malpractice insurance rates will soar and hospitals will think long and hard about performing procedures that could land them in court—again.

Lawmakers should aid this process by making it as easy as possible for patients who were mutilated as minors to file civil lawsuits against their doctors. They should lower every barrier to standing and force defendants to pay punitive damages for emotional and physical harm to the patients who sue them.

One federal bill, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, James Lankford, and Steve Daines, would go a long way in helping these children get the justice they deserve. It would create a private right of action for patients who, as minors, underwent sex-change procedures and treatments, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries. These patients would be able to file a lawsuit against the medical practitioner who administered these treatments for 30 years after turning 18 years old.

To be sure, lawmakers should also look to ban these treatments for minors altogether. In Tennessee, for example, Republicans have proposed a ban on all sex-change treatments for minors. 

But the thousands of children who have already been subjected to these experimental, irreversible procedures must not be forgotten. Many of them, like Chloe, will someday regret the decisions they made when they were young and impressionable, and the adults who were responsible must be held accountable. 

The solution is simple: Sue every last one of them.